Plum has a lot on her mind: she's trying to lose weight, impress her friends, and plan for her fourteenth birthday. She's trying to shed the skin of her childhood, but doesn't quite know how to obtain the perceived confidence of an adult. Through her friendship with thirty-something neighbor Maureen and the power that lays among a few precious objects that Plum keeps hidden away in a briefcase underneath her bed, she believes that she can find the strength that will lead her into adulthood. But no one in her life is exactly who Plum imagines them to be -- not either of her brothers, not any of her friends, not Maureen, and not even herself. There are a lot of gray areas in the world and this novel blurs most of the lines drawn between good and bad, causing Plum to grow in ways she wasn't anticipating and for which she wasn't prepared.
Butterfly is slow-moving and convoluted, but at the same time it holds a mystery, an adventure, and a tremendous development of character. This novel will likely appeal to teens and adults who are not put off by literary writings and musings. Recommended to (those admittedly few) high school and adult readers with a bit of a nostalgic side for the unhappiness of the teenage years.
Call number: YA HARTNETT (Teen Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian